Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Each Thursday at noon in Jerusalem, Sabeel holds a Communion service that is open to the community. It is a time to join together to celebrate the Eucharist, to discuss how the scriptures apply to our lives today, and to pray for the specific needs of this region. Following the 2006 Sabeel International Conference, the Friends of Sabeel coordinators met and discussed the idea of "Waves of Prayer." The premise is that in their respective time zones, individuals and groups around the world will pray together at 12:00 on Thursdays, in solidarity with Sabeel in Jerusalem and with "Friends of Sabeel" worldwide. Starting in Australia, passing through Palestine, and on around the world we will pray for Peace with Justice and focus on specific issues each week.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, April 2, 2009

As Jerusalem readies itself for Holy Week activities, we pray for cooperation and goodwill among the region's various denominations. We hope that Easter can be a time of unity for Christians in Jerusalem and around the world. We pray that the risen Christ's message of peace will inspire us all this Easter season.

We pray for an end to clashes in Gaza. Israeli military forces and Hamas fighters continue to exchange fire along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Additionally, Israel continues to deny adequate shipments of medical, food and building supplies into Gaza and stops nearly all exports out of Gaza. We pray that current negotiations will result in a peace based on justice and mutual respect instead of attempting to impose quiet through intimidation.

Israel's new government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, will take power this week. We pray that Israel's new leaders will take this opportunity to freeze settlement expansion, halt military incursions, and engage in productive dialogue with Palestinian leaders. We also pray that other nations will see this as a chance to implement new and effective policies in this region.

This Friday, Sabeel is organizing a "Contemporary Way of the Cross" journey along the traditional Via Dolorosa for Palestinian Christians. This Holy Week activity is designed as an act of worship rooted in the land where Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again, linking the original events of Good Friday with the continuing suffering of the occupied people who live in this land today. We pray that the event will be conducted in a spirit of ecumenism and hope in the ever transformative power of the Resurrection.

Rev. Naim Ateek has written a prayer for Easter Sunday in Christian Aid's Lenten Pilgrimage.
Keep reading to see the prayer.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, March 19, 2009

We pray for healing and comfort for Tristan Anderson, an American shot in the head by the Israeli military with a tear gas canister while participating in a nonviolent protest against the Separation Wall in Ni'lin. This tragedy reminds us of the many nonviolent protests happening regularly in the West Bank. We pray for strength and safety for people participating in demonstrations in Jayyous, Budrus, Bil'in, Ni'lin and Umm Salamonah. May God use this terrible event to prick the consciences of people around the world.

Even as this prayer is being written, the Herbawi home in Beit Safafa-a neighborhood of Jerusalem-is being demolished. We pray that the world will not stand by and ignore the ongoing campaign against Palestinian communities within Jerusalem.

We pray for Sabeel's four-part Lenten community programs. Each week of Lent, Sabeel has been organizing events designed to expand upon the theme of 2 Peter 3:13: "But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells." The events are designed to find practical ways to promote righteousness in our daily lives and current situation.

Rev. Naim Ateek travels to Lund, Sweden next week to attend the yearly "Jerusalem Day" event organized by the Church of Sweden. This year's theme is "Jerusalem: A Shared/Divided City." We pray that the commitment of the Swedish community seeking a just peace in Palestine and Israel will help result in a Jerusalem that is shared by all peoples and faiths of this region.

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